New Walford face Paul Coker will get the hots for Ben Mitchell when he makes his debut next week. Paul – the grandson of Albert Square regulars Pam and Les – will be seen arriving home after travelling in Turkey and soon finds himself attracted to Phil’s son.
“Ben excites Paul,” says actor Jonny Labey. “He’s got that Mitchell persona and Paul is drawn to that, as well as the tease of trying to get Ben to come out because he’s obviously still involved with Abi. He enjoys that. It’s playful.”
But surely Paul is playing with fire in messing with the Mitchells? After all, Phil wouldn’t be best pleased if he found out? “Well, that script will be interesting when it comes!” he laughs. “At the moment, I’ve only had scenes with Ben, who’s trying to decide whether he loves men or women. So, obviously, he’s not going to introduce Paul to any of his other family.”
For TV newcomer Labey, it means that he’s already in the thick of the EastEnders action. And not only does Paul have a clandestine relationship to keep under wraps – he’s also cottoned on to the fact that his granddad Les is having trysts with Claudette. Just how many secrets can Paul keep?
“He is a bit of a troublemaker,” Labey admits. “When I’m filming scenes with other cast members, they keep on saying afterwards, ‘Oh, I’m not sure about you, you’re trouble!’. In the case of Pam and Les, Paul will do anything for his nan. And likewise, she for him. So it’ll be interesting to toy with different ideas and see what happens.”
And what kind of mischief can we expect from Paul in the future? “Well, he’s lovable and he’s just come back from his travels. So he’s all about partying, having a drink and flirting quite a bit. He’s had a good time in Turkey, so he’s a confident guy. So he’ll definitely take a fancy to anyone who catches his eye!”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.